The 1970s at IKEA were characterised by innovation and expansion. The company opened new stores constantly, and created a raft of now iconic products – including LACK, BILLY and IVAR. It tested new materials, and started focusing more and more on the family’s needs in the home. The early 1970s were also a time when the company’s ideas really started taking shape: to make and sell home furnishing products at low prices. And in the middle of this expansive decade, Ingvar Kamprad and his family decided to move to Denmark. Given the restrictive Swedish foreign exchange regulations and prohibitive taxes, it became apparent that it would be hard to grow the IKEA business internationally from within Sweden. For four years, the Kamprad family lived close to the new group office in Humlebæk, after which it was time to move again, this time to Switzerland. But of course the move increased the distance to Älmhult. How could Ingvar see all his new and old employees? The ability to chat to his co-workers would virtually disappear. This at a time when the ongoing expansion made the need to talk about the corporate culture and the IKEA approach to work greater than ever.
To keep the IKEA culture going, Ingvar decided to write down the ideas behind IKEA in nine points. Summarising his thoughts about how IKEA should develop moving forward, even when he was no longer active in the company, enabled him to reach everyone who would shape the IKEA of the future.
The Testament of a Furniture Dealer was published in 1976. The document contained the most important cornerstones of the IKEA business. Ingvar formulated the overriding social ambition, the IKEA vision, as “To create a better everyday life for the many people”. And this vision would be achieved through the company’s business idea: “by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”